Health Information

Rubella

  • Home
  • Health Resources

Definition

Rubella is a viral illness that spreads easily. After you have had rubella, you will not get sick with it again.

Rubella Rash
Nucleus factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Rubella is caused by a virus. It is passed from person to person through tiny droplets in the air.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your risk of rubella include:

  • Never having the condition
  • Never receiving an immunization for rubella

Symptoms

Symptoms are usually mild and include:

  • Red, spotty rash all over the body
  • Fatigue, low energy, and discomfort
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Flushed face
  • Red throat that is not sore
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Achy joints and arthritis , especially in adults

Upper respiratory symptoms and fatigue occur first, followed by the rash.

Babies whose mothers have rubella during pregnancy , especially during the first trimester, can be born with severe birth defects known as congenital rubella syndrome, which can cause:

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Rubella is confirmed by blood tests.

Treatment

There is no treatment for rubella. To help make you more comfortable, your doctor may advise acetaminophen.

Prevention

The rubella vaccine is often given as a combination vaccine with:

The regular schedule for giving the vaccine is at age 12-15 months and again at age 4-6 years. If you or your child has never been vaccinated against rubella, talk to the doctor.

Women who are not sure if they have been vaccinated should be tested. This is very important if they are in occupations with high risk of exposure to rubella, such as:

  • Healthcare workers
  • Teachers
  • Childcare workers

Revision Information

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    http://www.cdc.gov

  • Immunization Action Coalition

    http://www.immunize.org

  • About KidsHealth

    http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca

  • Public Health Agency of Canada

    http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/im/

  • Rubella. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/rubella/ . Updated April 29, 2011. Accessed June 6, 2013.

  • Rubella (German measles). Nemours' KidsHealth.org website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/skin/german%5Fmeasles.html . Updated July 2012. Accessed June 6, 2013.

  • Rubella (German measles or three-day measles). New York State Department of Health website. Available at: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/rubella/fact%5Fsheet.htm . Updated January 2012. Accessed June 6, 2013.

  • Rubella. World Health Organization website. Available at: http://www.who.int/topics/rubella/en/ . Accessed June 6, 2013.

  • 1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended immunization schedules for persons aged 0-18 years—United States, 2008. MMWR. 2008;57;Q1-Q4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MMWR website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5701a8.htm . Updated January 10, 2008. Accessed January 28, 2008.